3.08 @ Kingshill, Nailsea - update Nov09

Sunday, 1 November, 2009

Steve Tilley talks candidly about the beginning and ending of 3.08, Nailsea.

Duration: 4:05   | Download Download mp3


Introducer: Now it's not always easy to admit when things don't quite go according to plan, but when a bishop told Associate Vicar Steve Tilley he'd be comfortable with a few heroic failures, he gave permission to experiment in a daring way. So members of Steve's church in the diocese of Bath and Wells took the bishop at his word and started a worship event called 3.08. Steve explains more to Norman Ivison.

Steve Tilley: It was the desire of Christchurch Nailsea to reach a group of people on a housing estate a bit distanced from their church building and the other side of a main road, with whom they had little contact. And so the idea was to set up an all-age act of worship in a school near where people were at a convenient time for them.

Interviewer: When did it become clear that the sort of people you wanted to come along from that estate weren't really connecting with that fresh expression?

Steve Tilley: Well I suppose it became clear from the word go. But we kept wondering if we had got something wrong with the style, something wrong with the publicity, something wrong with the timing and so we tweaked all those things to see if those were the problem, so we ended up with 3.08 was the time that the act of the worship started, eight minutes past three on a Sunday afternoon for 45 minutes, lots of door to door invitations and invitations through the local school in which we met, and people did come along from that constituency, but not in huge numbers and very few repeat visitors.

Interviewer: In retrospect do you think it was maybe a mistake to begin with an act of worship rather than by trying to build a sense of community there?

Steve Tilley: That's a good question and it might be, although we talked more about an all-age event and we focused on fun, on activity, on tea and cake, so it was more a community gathering than I'm making it sound. We had a long think after one year and wondered if we just wanted to put it down to experience and do something else, but we just decided that there were things that we were learning about running the event as a team, about getting together some skills, about becoming better at running the events that we wanted to carry on learning and to carry on inviting people. At that point you see we'd only done one Christmas, one Easter, and those things had proved to be slightly more popular, so we thought we'd have another go. But after two years it still hadn't quite scratched where people itched and that was the point at which we pulled the plug on it.

Interviewer: So looking back now on lessons learnt, and you were given permission to experiment and you did experiment and did that very well, but looking back on lessons learnt, how would you approach the whole thing differently if you were starting from scratch?

Steve Tilley: I'm not sure what to do differently yet, and I'm still thinking about that. It's a matter of having eliminated something from our enquiries I guess. But the town where I work is quite a difficult town to establish relationships with communities, we did a bit of research a couple of years back and found that of the 18,500 people who live in Nailsea, only 4,500 put their names down to sign up for anything that involves belonging to something – society, club, sports event – and we're trying to work out how to make contact with the 14,000 people who on the face of it don't do anything – where they meet, where they go – and it's going to be a slow process, and we may not be able to get in touch with large groups of people at a time, and friendship, relationship sort of thing will be probably the best bet.

Introducer: Steve Tilley, Associate Vicar of Christchurch, Nailsea.

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